Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Month-End Review, September

September will go down as the month in which my workouts were more varied. I was flipping through an old journal and was reminded about how I used to hit the workout DVDs much more. I got out my kickbox bootcamp DVD and it was just what I needed for, at least, one day this month to be reminded that it's not just about working out but also how much effort you put into the workout.

10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts (Upper Body), 7 x's

10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp (Basic Training), 1 x

10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp (Fat Burning Blast), 1 x

Adaptive Motion Trainer, 2 x's

Army Crawls with Weights, 5 x's

Bicycling, 8 x's

Elliptical Trainer, 1 x

Mowing Lawn, 1 x

Rock Climbing, 1 x

Shooting Hoops, 1 x

Squats, 1 x

StairMaster, 4 x's

Swimming, 8 x's

Treadmill, 5 x's

Walking (Outdoors), 7 x's

Yard Work, 1 x

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Today's Journey

I went to check out The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail. I stopped by the Alton Visitors Center to ask about a good starting point and the woman in the office suggested that I go to Piasa Park which has plenty of parking and one tough looking creature, The Piasa Bird.

I enjoyed the scenery and intended to bike from Alton to Grafton but I didn't quite make it. Oh well, there's always next time.

A Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels' Motivational Moment


Who are you going after?




Go get him. That Julio -- he is not doing work. Every time I turn my back, he stops moving. Kill him.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Food Wit

Overheard while actively or, well, passively watching the box.

How am I supposed to eat without a television?
Homer Simpson

You need to talk to a trained professional about why you live life as a raccoon in a dumpster.
Carrie to Doug on The King of Queens

I don't want to die tomorrow knowing that I could have had a piece of cake tonight.
Gabriel Iglesias in Hot and Fluffy

You mind if I watch you eat that?
Jack, post-heart attack on 30 Rock

Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Drea's Top Ten List

I'm usually happy to see the Arch come into view when I'm on the St. Louis Riverfront Trail.

When I see this scrawled, homemade sign, I'm relieved especially when it's been a rough ride because the finish line really is just a heartbeat away when I see this graffiti.

I saw lots of tailgaters but was surprised to see so many Packers' fans who ended up with plenty of reasons to celebrate since the Packers beat, with a capital B, the St. Louis Rams.

I didn't think that I would have a place to park but the football fans left the trail parking to the bikers. Thank you. In honor of my bicycle jones, here is 'Drea's Top Ten list of why she enjoys bicycling:

10). Throwing leg over bike frame at the start line.

9). The open trail.

8). The scenery/nature.

7). The wild turkeys, frogs, cardinals etc.

6). Flying down hills.

5). Leaning into curves.

4). The feeling of balance.

3). The feeling of movement.

2). The workout of lifting the bike before the bike ride.

And the number one reason?

1). The calories burned.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

'Drea Vs 'Drea

After waiting for the rumbling to dissipate, I headed to the pool. There are instructors, especially on Saturday, giving lessons to kids while parents sit on the sidelines. There are also some parents who take on the role of swimming instructor and teach their kids the finer points of diving etc.

At one point, I watched as this pre-teen girl (sans instructor) did lap after lap. While she was doing the front crawl, she did bilateral breathing which made me wish that I had learned to swim much sooner. It also got me to thinking about taking another swimming class or semi-private class so that I'll feel more comfortable in the water.

I found myself watching Shaq Vs Michael Phelps. You know, anything to get some swimming tips. Watching Shaq Vs just made me want a personal trainer and swimming coach though. At one point, Phelps' coach gives Shaq some tips on the freestyle (20:50). There's a medley relay in this episode and three women (two Olympians) join Shaq. The women are not slouches and it was a joy to watch them swim against Phelps (34:47).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pre-Regimen XXL Days

I'm trying to part with some clothes and I've come across so many XXL t-shirts.

This shirt used to be one of my favorites and I had no problem filling it out. In fact, I don't think there was any fabric to spare. It's unsuitable for donating because it's well-worn and I don't want to send any *chicken skins and lobster shells to Goodwill.

It's one of my favorite t-shirts because WNBA paraphernalia wasn't plentiful when the league first started. This shirt also reminds me of earlier misguided efforts. This man started calling me Cooper when I would stroll through the park. I was dedicated to getting some exercise in those days but I had no clue at the time how I needed to step it up and move from strolls in the park to a more hard-core regimen.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Same Pounds Twice

I keep thinking about Alice Walker's book The Same River Twice in which she discusses The Color Purple controversy.

While I don't have a controversy, I do seem to have pounds that I lose and regain again. I'm up two and, while I'm not fretting, I would like to see the scale move south.

It appears that New York's mayor has weight issues as well. Mayor Doesn’t Always Live by His Health Rules was entertaining. I'm fascinated by people with huge appetites who eat what they want to eat. That's called living vicariously, I suppose.

Here's my favorite line from the article:

HE dumps salt on almost everything, even saltine crackers.
It seems like we all have our trigger seasonings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Jillian Michaels' Motivational Moment on the Biggest Loser, Season Eight

Shay, listen to me. I'm bored with the pathetic story. It bores me. Get on the ladder.

You have two choices: get on the ladder or go out the door.


You're acting pathetic...


Shay, who weighed in at 476 pounds (the biggest Biggest Loser contestant), chose the ladder and lost 17 pounds in a week.

Hello To Pomegranate Season

I was really bummed that it didn't get really warm this summer. My state of mind had everything to do with my recently acquired swimming skills. I was jonesing to swim outdoors so that I could do the back crawl while watching the birds and the clouds.

I felt like we went from fall to fall but I was genuinely happy to see pomegranates, a definite reason to celebrate fall. I've only seen small ones so far but I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Laughing All The Way To The Store

I was reading a post at Prior Fat Girl and got intrigued by a snack. Of course, I immediately went to the Vitalicious website to find out which stores carry the Vitatops.

Since I thought I was going to indulge in some baked falafel at Natural Fact Deli, I was closest to Straub's but I didn't see anything. I asked a manager who led me to the frozen section. I didn't know the Vitatops were frozen so I didn't taken any with me because I wasn't headed straight home.

When I get intrigued by something, I need the object of my curiosity soon. Later on, I went to Dierbergs but since I was tired, I stopped by customer service to see if they had any in stock which they did but I wished that I had gotten them at Straub's because they were a dollar more at Dierbergs but I wasn't trekking back to Straub's.

While I was waiting for the manager to get a lock on the Vitatops, I checked out a Kids BEE healthy: Better Eating & Exercise brochure. I chuckled when I read this segment in the product guidelines:

  • Vegetables may be fresh, frozen or canned and should not be fried

  • Vitatops also makes me think about this Seinfeld episode which never fails to elicit a laugh.

    I'm hoping that the Vitatops will provide just as much enjoyment.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Surprises On The Falafel Tour

    I decided to compare falafel since I had such an enjoyable greek pita i.e. baked falafel at Kaldi's. Plus, I had broken my eight month streak of not dining out and I suddenly remembered how I used to go to Natural Fact Deli for sandwiches and sweet potato chips. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Natural Fact also served baked falafel AND had the nutrition stats on the website. I was so happy that I headed over to Webster Groves but happiness turned into disappointment when I saw a real estate sign in the window. Why, oh, why do they still have their web page up?

    I'm trying to be more flexible these days and I knew there was a First Watch nearby. I had breakfast there once after participating in a Race for The Cure and I knew that they had leaner breakfast fare. I went in and asked if there was any nutrition information and the guy told me that I could find it online. I shrugged my shoulders since I was sitting in First Watch and not in front of a computer but he remembered that they had some old not completely up-to-date information.

    I had decided that the turkey burger looked good but when I started looking through the notebook with nutrition information, my mouth dropped. The turkey burger had 531 calories. The grilled turkey sandwich was 1,025 calories and had 2637 milligrams of sodium -- over what you should have for the entire day. There were also a lot of entrees with fat grams (54) off the chart. I told First Watch thank you and then left. I think that I'll be eating out even less now.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    I Did Not Make Any Changes That I Could Not Live With

    My sister-in-law and I were in the kitchen. I was making a sandwich as opposed to the eating the Popeyes' chicken that everyone else wanted. There was also plenty of Louisiana hot sauce, ketchup and cajun sparkle (salt, spices including paprika, seasoning blend of dried garlic and onion. Natural flavors, MSG) to go along with the chicken.

    S-I-L started telling me about the fat free diet that she had gone on; she lost 20 pounds but as soon as she stopped eating the fat free fare, the weight came right back. I told her that I did not make any changes that I could not deal with over the long haul. Although, despite the tasty and varied alternatives, sometimes other sweets still beckon.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Bosnian Hospitality

    I asked for a few cookies because I couldn't resist. Plus, I know the cook and she is good odlično (excellent). A few cookies ended up being about five pounds plus some potato (krompir) pita.

    I just stared at the dessert plate, which should have come with police caution tape, and tried to summon all of my self-control because I know that I'm capable of diving in without surfacing for awhile.

    Today's my birthday, though, and I'm going to have a few b-day cookies, especially since I spent some time on the StairMaster this morning.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    North Then South Again

    I've been stuck at the same weight for awhile now. Occasionally, the scale will head north then south again but, for the most part, I'm about 1.5 pounds away from my 60 pound milestone.

    Although I would like to go ahead and knock more weight off, I'm not stressing about this most recent plateau but I do wonder, like Frazz, why more weight is not coming off.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Rescue Me

    I don't think that I've eaten out since Jan. of '09. Frankly, I'm still apprehensive about dining out because I want to know what goes into my meal. However, I don't want to be like Sally in When Harry Met Sally who doesn't eat between meals or is a super picky nuisance when ordering at a restaurant.

    I wanted to treat myself today and I thought I might give Stir Crazy, a restaurant that I used to frequent, a try but I couldn't find nutrition information online.

    I finally decided to try Kaldi's Coffee's baked falafel which was quite tasty.

    Greek Pita $6.99
    baked falafel, hummus, and Mediterranean rice in a pita, grilled
    and served hot with Kalamata olives, feta, fresh tomato relish
    and Tahini dressing
    Somebody rescue me because I felt like quite the glutton for eating the whole falafel sandwich and imagined that I had used up all of my calories for the day. I wondered what was Kaldi's idea of Mediterranean rice but, finally, I rationalized that I couldn't possibly gain a pound in a day and that I need to learn how to eat out without biting my proverbial fingernails. I'm incorrigible, though, because I just wondered about the calorie count of fingernails.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009


    Hungry Girl was featured on Nightline last night. Lisa Lillien i.e. Hungry Girl talked about finding acceptable food in the middle of the store for those people who don't eat as many fruits and vegetables and who are not going to give up processed snack foods. I definitely related since I like to snack on crackers and cookies. I probably have about 40 items in my snack box right now.

    I know that I can eat better and that I can incorporate more unprocessed foods in my diet but, sometimes, bell peppers and such just don't cut it.

    This article Big Food vs. Big Insurance from The New York Times hit some truthful notes.

    Here's an excerpt:

    Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.
    I'm not sure where Michael Pollan got his numbers from but he says that the U.S. spends 147 million to handle obesity. Whoa, that's a lot of money and illness.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Old Jones: A Non-Fairy Tale

    To quote Anthony Hamilton:

    I'm a mess right now...
    My room is too.

    One of my colleagues, who is cleaning machine, said that she would help me but I would have to let her throw away stuff.

    My friend, Martene, told me that it probably wouldn't benefit me to hire someone since I would need to be involved as far as okaying what to throw away.

    And, finally, I told my friend Lori that I would be mortified if I died and someone saw my room in such disarray. Lori promised me that, upon hearing the news of my death, she would rush over and tidy things up so that people would have fond memories of me as opposed to frowning upon my messiness.

    Guess what I've been doing? Cleaning up. Not because I'm inspired. It's the forced clean up because company is coming.

    Folks, I don't stand a chance. I'm such a pack rat. I went to San Diego about two years ago where I was chasing other things besides sunsets. It is amazing how sunsets become the thing to watch when you're by the ocean. You rush to get a front row seat when it's that time of the day.

    I had a serious jones for Manner of the milk chocolate variety. It's a terrible feeling when you realize that you haven't seen your jones in awhile. I saw this one store that listed milk chocolate Manner as being in stock but when I got my package in the mail, I received the chocolate cream Manner and the woman told me that it was the new milk chocolate Manner.

    I didn't care if it was new or not, I didn't want it. Now, there's nothing wrong with the original hazelnut or lemon or vanilla Manner wafers but I just took a liking to the milk chocolate.

    As I was cleaning up my room, I saw a piece of paper with the following information:

    Sausage King
    811 Washington
    (619) 297-4301

    I chuckled because I remembered having such a hard time finding the Sausage King. And what did the Sausage King sell? Manner wafers and, well, sausage. When I got there, though, he had chocolate cream wafers and I never found the milk chocolate ones again.

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Anything Can Happen

    I watched Spirit of the Marathon over at

    I'm not a runner but Spirit... moved me. I enjoyed the sportsmanship, Deena Kastor's inspirational finish in a Chicago Marathon and Kathrine Switzer's groundbreaking move; using initials only, she signed up for the Boston Marathon at a time when it was off-limits to women. The race founder literally tried to knock her out of the race; what a punk...

    I went swimming today and got in 20 laps. As usual, I had a reusable bottle at the end of my lane so that I could stay hydrated. Drill sergeant Judy of Bally Total Fitness fame told me how important it is to drink water while in the water. She said that you don't see it but you are sweating while during water workouts.

    For those days that I am out-and-out sweating, I thank Josie over at Yum Yucky for the Pond's Gym Essentials. I really don't have a lot of things on the ol' want list these days but this giveaway was a cool one. I really didn't think that I had much of a chance but as Josie said:

    Ahh, but anything can happen at Yum Yucky. Congrats!

    Friday, September 11, 2009


    Finally, some good news about my massive thighs which have always been thick and will always be thick no matter what size I am.

    I'm sure that you've heard people talking about an unshakable attribute that will not go away no matter what. My thighs are that attribute.

    I remember reading, a long time ago, The Black Women's Health Book. There was an article, Coming Home: One Black Woman's Journey to Health and Fitness by Georgiana Arnold. At the end of her article, she surmised:

    If you have the muscular build of a Jackie Joyner-Kersee, you will never have the willowy appearance of a Naomi Sims. No amount of diet/exercise will transform a statuesque body into a model-thin one. Strive to achieve your best body, not someone else's...
    That quote has stayed with me after all these years. Thanks G.A.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    The Joys Of Bicycling?

    I've been experiencing some post-bicycling knee achiness. At times, I don't appreciate the absence of pain or discomfort until something is amiss or shall I say that I don't fully appreciate the joy of fluidity until, to borrow a title from Chinua Achebe, things fall apart.

    I saw an article about (arm, elbow, hand and knee etc.) pain in the July/August 2009 edition of Fitness Magazine.

    I don't feel a grinding in my knee when I'm bicycling but the suggestion for bike-related knee pain helped out.

    Now, I try to make sure that my foot is pointing forward which has, fortunately, cut down on the knee achiness. I would hate to give up bicycling especially since I so recently rediscovered it.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009


    My cousin asked me again if I was on a diet. I told her that I was on the best life diet à la Bob Greene's suggestion. Otherwise, I was not on a cabbage diet or Atkin's diet.

    I told her that I had swapped 2% milk for 1% milk. I stopped eating fried food. I eat baked Lays instead of regular Lays -- if I get a hankering for some chips.

    Yesterday's choice of dinner was a prime example of tweaking.

    Before, I would fix this Leek and Cheese Quiche with heavy cream and butter.

    2 tablespoons butter
    2 cups sliced leeks
    1 (9 inch) frozen pie crust, thawed
    1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
    1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    4 eggs
    1 3/4 cups heavy cream
    1 tomato, thinly sliced
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
    Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the leeks until tender. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
    In a bowl, toss together the Swiss cheese, Romano cheese, and flour. Spread over the leeks.
    In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and heavy cream. Pour over the cheese layer in the pie crust. Top with the tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper.
    Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), and continue baking 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.

    Yesterday, I fixed this Healthy Veggie Quiche.

    Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1/6 of quiche)

    1 store-bought frozen pastry shell, such as Wholly Wholesome brand
    2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    1 (5-ounce) package prewashed fresh baby spinach
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 (4-ounce) package assorted mushrooms
    2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces), divided
    1 cup plain soy milk
    1 large egg
    3 large egg whites
    1. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastry shell for 10–12 minutes or until browned. Remove shell from oven, and set aside. Leave oven on.

    2. Heat 1 1/4 teaspoons oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet; add shallots. Add spinach, and cook 2–3 minutes or until wilted. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper. Transfer to a plate; set aside

    3. Using the same pan, heat remaining oil, and cook mushrooms about 6 minutes or until browned on both sides. Remove from heat. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    4. Sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese over bottom of pastry crust. Top with spinach and mushrooms.

    5. In a separate bowl, whisk together soy milk with egg and egg whites. Pour into shell. Top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, and bake for 45–50 minutes or until top is firm and golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.

    Nutritional Information
    Fat:12g (sat 5g,mono 1g,poly 0.0g)

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    War Of The Billboards

    Okay, technically, two aren't billboards but they belong to the same tribe. I think my favorite may very well be the Coca Cola ad because the logic that one 50 oz bottle isn't enough to finish off your meal amuses me.

    The IHOP commercial really did make me chuckle but I wonder how many calories are in the quarterback scramble. There are a variety of scrambles including the following:

    MVP Quarterback Scramble:

    Made with diced pork sausage links, chopped bacon, diced ham, hash browns, diced jalapenos, cheddar cheese and a splash of our famous buttermilk and wheat pancake batter for an extra fluffy scramble. Served with two buttermilk pancakes.

    Draft Pick Quarterback Scramble:

    A first-round choice for lighter fare made with egg substitute, fresh spinach and grilled onions then topped with roasted tomatoes and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Served with a side of fresh fruit or whole wheat toast.
    Out of the four scrambles, I would definitely go with the Draft Pick one.

    After I posted this entry, I watched Nightline whose feature, Burgernomics, discusses the banner business of hamburger sells.

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    New Jones

    I was strolling down the organic aisle at Dierbergs when I spotted these nacho cheese puffs on sale and I thought I would give them a try. I liked them enough to buy three additional bags. Snikiddy claims the following about these baked corn puffs:

  • no corn syrup

  • gluten & wheat free

  • no hydrogenated oils

  • no trans fat

  • no preservatives

  • low in saturated fat

  • If I could kick the processed food habit, I would do better with the weight loss but life would also be dull and unsatisfying.

    Saturday, September 5, 2009

    Tiptoeing Through The Water

    I was ravenous after swimming 21 laps so I had a light garlic and herb Laughing Cow wedge and some Deerfield oven crisp crackers. Still hungry after the cheese and crackers, I wondered what to eat since it wasn't quite time for dinner. I remembered that I hadn't had any fruit so I had some watermelon which was very good. As I sat down to eat my watermelon, I remembered a time when I would put salt on it. As James Brown would say, Good God! Who introduced adding salt to watermelon? And why mess with perfection?

    Today, for the fifth time, I was able to swim the front crawl for 25 meters without stopping. It definitely wasn't pretty. For you veteran swimmers, the front crawl is no big deal but I struggle mightily with the breathing. I do feel like I'm making progress, though, as I continue to experiment with different ways of breathing.

    And, by the way, the front crawl was not the only thing taking my breath away; the water was so freaking cold at the indoor pool that I felt like this poor creature tiptoeing through the water at 0:10.

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    Quote of the Day

    Exercise, exercise, exercise. It's the only wonder drug we have.
    Dr. Rosanne Leipzig, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

    -from Time, June 22, 2009

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Cautionary Tales

    People were aghast by the Time magazine article Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin. The article was more of a cautionary tale for me and certainly didn't have any impact on my exercise regimen.

    In catching up on my reading, I came across Time's Health Issue: It's All About Prevention, which has some great articles.

    The Global Dispatch column, written by Coco Masters, focused on Tojinbo Cliffs in Japan where people often go to commit suicide. Yukio Shige, a trained counselor, provides the cool in this article since he is the one who arms himself with binoculars and watches out for the desperate. He is often able to talk people out of jumping off the cliffs and to provide follow-up service.

    Other highlights included the article on the Cleveland Clinic which has a program for their employees called Lifestyle 180. Employees participate in stress-management, yoga and cooking classes free of charge. As a result, the clinic's insurance premiums are down because they have healthier employees.

    I also benefited from the article A User's Guide To Good Health At Every Age. Dr. Katz recommends:
    Start by opting for lots of single-ingredient foods - broccoli or salmon, say - instead of highly processed multi-ingredient products, with their long lists of additives and preservatives...
    In addition, Katz has a "no excuse" approach to exercise:
    Exercise shouldn't be something that we're "making time" for, he says. It should be a daily given, like sleep or eating...
    If you get a chance, stop by your friendly neighborhood library and check out the June 22, 2009 issue of Time.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Active Challenge

    Several months ago, I signed up for a 30 day challenge at I didn't do all of my challenges but one of favorites was a challenge to sit on a fitness ball for x amount of minutes.

    I absolutely love my 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workout. I seldom do all the segments but I definitely make time for the upper body workout. There's a chest fly segment where your back is supported by the fitness ball then you sort of walk back up the ball in order to do the rear chest fly portion of the program. The ball has gotten away from me before. It's also gotten away from me while doing push-ups which is why it amuses me to see exercises like this one in various fitness magazines:

    If I were to do the ball pike, I would be so injured. My coordination is good but not that good.

    I did think about getting a fitness ball for my office but one of my friends nixed the idea. People already think you're interesting enough.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    The Cost of Losing Weight

    Monday's Nightline was devoted to the story of a mother who weighed 334 pounds and her son, an 11 year-old standing at 5'8 and weighing 249 pounds.

    To secure spots at Wellspring Family Camp in Pinehurst, NC, the mother put $7,900 dollars on a credit card.

    I feel sorry for that mother's $7,900 dollars because what the duo did to lose weight was, basically, exercise and track food by measuring everything in addition to writing down what they ate in a journal. Participants also had organized aerobics classes, early morning walks and were provided with a pedometer to encourage getting in 10,000 steps a day.

    I liked the "Uncontrolled Bar," a food bar with fruits, soups and vegetables among other things. The staff reinforced an idea that Dr. Aronne often repeated in The Skinny:

    You can have an unlimited amount of vegetables.
    Wellspring's uncontrolled bar is not limited to vegetables though.

    On a similar note, check out New York's ad campaign. If you're squeamish, don't click.

    Are You Pouring On The Pounds?